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I used to do School Pantos as a teacher – here a King Hubert three and a half from the right. There a wicked Stepmother and elsewhere a dodgy Councillor Fitzwarren prospective father-in-law to Aladdin. It was great fun except that I’m tone deaf – bit of a handicap in Panto. You never heard anything like me rendering of ‘Slow Boat to China’ or ‘Stormy Weather’. Notice I say rendering not singing!

Cross dressing is the most er………challenging aspect of it. As the stepmother I kept ripping the tights falling off the high heels (subterranean compared to what my wife wears by the way) and suffering excruciating pain as the bra was way too tight. Oh and the padding for my bra kept slipping half way through the er…….,,song. Many years later when a pupil in one of my classes asked why men have nipples I thought about my brief career in cross dressing. But I didn’t have an answer other than to tell him to pay attention in Biology. He asked this question in an English class where we were studying the novel ‘Of Mice and Men’ by John Steinbeck. It was not I have to tell you the most random question I was asked as a Teacher. Not by a long chalk if you’ll pardon the pun!

The first reported instance of a man in the Dundee area donning women’s clobber concerns William Wallace in the late 13th Century. According to Blind Harry’s poem he had to flee the city after a street brawl in which he took down the son of the then English Governor a man called Selby. Just West of town in the Carse of Gowrie he was taken in by a old woman who sat him down at a spinning wheel and dressed him as a girl. When the pursuing English soldiers burst in they were apparently fooled by the extremely tall Braveheart’s impersonation of a small woman!

I’ll allow you to draw your own conclusions. But if I could do it for a School Panto I guess William Wallace could easily do it to save his life! I wonder if he could sing?

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